Profile For Rico

Rico's Info

  • Location:
    Rockport, IN

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    5 years, 2 months ago

Rico's Bio

I am a middle aged, soon to be divorced, pot-bellied fella who has wanted to become a truck driver since I watched Smokey and The Bandit way back in 1977. Over the years I tried making my dream come true several times but one thing after another got in the way. Well, things have finally come together in such a way that that dream is coming to pass. Timing is everything in life, and my time has come!

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Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Rookie truck drivers, what would YOU do? #2

Calling dispatch was my first thought. They almost always have more information available to them on what is and isn't acceptable when making deliveries. It might be that, at 42 degrees, the temp has already gone past what's acceptable for WalMart. I think opting to get the reefer fixed before delivering the load would make a bad situation worse, given the short distance to the store and how close it is to the scheduled delivery. If 42 degrees is still within WM's guidelines, I'd get the load delivered ASAP and then go get the reefer fixed.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Going Local

Well, it appears that I am going to go local sooner than I thought. The last two weeks have brought some changes to my life I wasn't expecting. My father passed away last week, and something I won't discuss publicly happened to one of my daughters. We are going to move into my father's house, give our house to our son, and get our daughters out of the environment they're in. I go back out OTR on Monday, but only until the end of this month, the middle of next month at the latest. There's a company interested in hiring me that hauls fuel and coal. I can start out at the terminal close to where I live now and transfer to the one that's where my dad's house is in the Spring.

Do any of you know much about hauling coal or fuel? I know that pulling a tanker is a different kind of driving than a van, with the surge and all. I'm kinda looking forward to pulling a shorter trailer with a day cab, but I've heard that coal mine roads can be really rough. Other than that, I really don't know what either is like, so any information y'all could provide would be appreciated.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Entertainment out on the road

I play my guitar, watch TV, surf the web. Sometimes I just sit in the truck and watch other drivers' backing maneuvers. I saw one fella do a complete backwards u-turn into a parking spot three other drivers gave up on. I thought my jaw was gonna hit the steering wheel. I hope I'm that good someday. Mostly though, I end up getting in the bunk and going to sleep, especially on the 14 hour days. It's amazing how tiring driving a truck can be.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Are trucking companies switching to automatic transmissions?

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The industry is not switching to auto's. Sure, one company out of a thousand might use them but the industry is dominated by manual and it will stay that way. Manuals provide more control of the vehicle especially in mountainous terrain, also, auto's are pricey to maintain mechanically.

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how much control does one have of the vehicle when going down a mountain and missing a gear? autos eliminate that problem altogether.

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With auto trannys you can still roll down a hill to fast. You still burn up brakes going down hill. You can still blow the engine if the rpms get to high. Yep automatic trannys can do all that except it does shift for ya.

The point is that an auto will always keep you in a gear. None of this ending up in neutral and in big trouble going down a mountain.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Are trucking companies switching to automatic transmissions?

I'm sorry, but give me a thirteen speed any day, I learnt on them and drove them, and loved the tranny, Yes especially in the Northeast. If I remember correctly? If you take your test in an auto you are licensed for an auto and not a Manual.?

depends on the state you live in

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Are trucking companies switching to automatic transmissions?

The industry is not switching to auto's. Sure, one company out of a thousand might use them but the industry is dominated by manual and it will stay that way. Manuals provide more control of the vehicle especially in mountainous terrain, also, auto's are pricey to maintain mechanically.

how much control does one have of the vehicle when going down a mountain and missing a gear? autos eliminate that problem altogether.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Are trucking companies switching to automatic transmissions?

It's happening more and more. Conway is buying all autos. The guys I've talked to that have them, love them. Many of them have told me that they didn't think they'd like an auto until the first time they got stuck in traffic and didn't have to shift a hundred times. Or the first time they climbed and went down a mountain without having to shift. Honestly, I'm surprised that it's taken this long for autos in big trucks to become more popular.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Are Truck Drivers patient with Rookies when during backing?

I had some trouble with this in the Northeast. I take my time when backing, and have no problem getting out to look as many times as it takes to get it right. I pulled into a Pilot in MA one night, and started having some trouble because I couldn't see. The radio came alive with insults and general ribbing of the rookie. I just shut the radio off. I'm not in this to impress anyone with how easily I get the truck into a spot on the first try. I've had a chance to watch quite a few guys backing into spots, and most of us need pull ups and do overs, so we're pretty much all in the same boat when it comes to backing--no one gets it perfect every time. It does feel good when I get it in on the first try though.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Doing The Speed Limit .. Or Not?

My trainer and I had some issues over this speeding thing. We got into California, and I kept the truck at 55. He tried his best to get me to speed, but I wouldn't do it. I had to repeatedly tell him that it's my license, my record, and I wasn't going to risk getting a ticket. Finally, after two days of him trying to guilt and goad me into going faster, he told me he respected my decision to stick to the speed limit.

What annoys me are the drivers who think it's OK to go 60 in a construction zone that has a 45 mph posted limit. Drivers who do that are asking for trouble. Twice now, I've had guys behind me get on the cb to get on my case about sticking to the speed limit in construction zones, and twice I've responded with "I obey what the signs say."

I'm very much a stick to the speed limit kind of person. That's how I drive my four wheeler, and see no reason to drive any differently in the big truck. There have been times that I've let the truck go faster, like when I'm going downhill and there's an uphill ahead, but I never set my cruise to deliberately go faster than the posted limit.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Trouble in paradise.

Thanks, Brett. I appreciate it. :)

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Trouble in paradise.

Thanks, guys. Yeah, there's nothing that extends the 14 hours. As long as I don't get audited, it should be ok. The rules are rigid, and I agree that they should be in place, even though I know that I could end up with a fine.

I get frustrated when these things happen because I am striving to be good at this. Screwing things up is part of getting there.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Trouble in paradise.

Well, I have my first four weeks as a solo driver just about completed. I've enjoyed myself, but there has been some trouble in paradise these last few weeks.

First off, I got a ticket for being overweight on my tandems. I'm still not sure exactly how that happened because I weighed at the shipper, but it was my screw up so I own it. The company I work for paid the fine and is taking it out of my check. The fine was $181.

I am also disappointed to report that I had a minor backing incident. I ended up in the Northeast, and the entire experience left me never wanting to go back there again. lol I didn't like the roads, the way people drive, or the trouble I had finding a place to park, which contributed to the backing incident. I ended up in New Hampshire at a truck stop that only had one space left, mainly because of how tight it was to get in to. I didn't have enough time on the clock to search for another truck stop, so I went for it. I was so concerned about hitting the truck that would have been next to me that I focused all my attention on what the trailer was doing and ended up bumping into a car hauler with the tractor. No damage to the corner of his trailer, but the passenger side step of this ProStar is now about two inches forward from where it was. Thankfully, I didn't get fired.

Today I ended up with an HOS violation. I had 14 miles to go to get to where I planned to shut down for the night when traffic suddenly stopped, and I mean stopped at a standstill. I had 30 minutes left on my 14, plenty to get there any other time but not enough with this traffic problem. Apparently, a truck broke down in the only open lane of I-71where I was. I called dispatch and explained the situation. They said what I already knew--there was nothing they could do about it. So, after sitting there for 45 minutes, I drove the 14 miles with my Qualcomm going nuts the whole way. Dispatch said to explain what happened to Logs in the morning to see if there's anything they can do about it. I already know they won't be able to fix it. Fourteen hours means 14 hours and the circumstances don't fit any safe haven rules that I know of.

So, I guess I could say I got my cherry busted real good. A month into my solo career, and I already have a ticket, a minor accident, and an HOS violation. It's certainly not how I wanted things to go, but this trucking thing is all about learning from your mistakes. I will never trust a shipper's scale again, I've changed my driving time so that my day is over before 5pm, and I will make sure to plan on stopping at least an hour before the clock runs out from now on.

I'd be lying if I said I'm not a little discouraged, but I'm not giving up. The plan from the start has been to do a year OTR before switching to a local gig, and I'm determined to make it. In spite of the problems I've had, I can honestly say that I love trucking. I love seeing the countryside through my windshield. I love meeting new and different people everywhere I go. I love the feeling I get when I back into a spot I know I would have had lots of trouble with while I was in school. I love the sense of peace and quiet that comes over me when I close the curtains and shut the world out for the night. And, I am enjoying learning how to drive this truck the way it should be driven (you know, not missing gears, not grinding, being in the right gear, etc., etc.) I know I am doing what I'm supposed to be doing and am where I'm supposed to be. I'll get over this newbie hump, along with all the newbie problems I'm having, eventually.

Posted:  4 years, 10 months ago

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On my own.

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I drive for Conway Truckload.

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OK, I actually remember that now. You were looking at Prime though, right? What made you choose Conway? Just curious ;)

Conway is one of the best companies to work for in the industry. Prime is a good company too, but I was impressed with the deal Conway offers trainees. They pay for half of the school tuition at Crowder College after hauling just one load after completing orientation. I got top notch training at Crowder and a really good company to work for afterwards.

Posted:  4 years, 10 months ago

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On my own.

I drive for Conway Truckload.

Posted:  4 years, 10 months ago

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On my own.

Good for you buddy, I remember when you first started posting here.

Yup. The last three months have been something. Schooling wasn't too bad, but there were a couple of times I thought I'd have to come home to straighten out one of my daughters who decided to start running wild as soon as I left. Then there was the eight weeks I spent away from home after Memorial Day....that was tough. It has all been worth it. I'm finally doing what I've wanted to do since I was a kid.

Posted:  4 years, 10 months ago

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On my own.

Yay! I am finally on my own. It's been a week since I upgraded and got my own truck. It's an International Pro Star. It doesn't have as much power as I'd like, but the sleeper in it is very roomy. I'm on a home visit right now, but I can't wait to get back on the road. It's been quite a journey so far.

Posted:  4 years, 10 months ago

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Finished with trainer.

Well, I have run my last run with my trainer. We are in the hotel, and I upgrade on Wednesday. It has been an incredible four weeks. I've driven over mountains, through the desert, in all kinds of city traffic, through a few storms, been through 18 states, had fun, been frustrated, you name it! lol I got broken in real good! I don't even really know where to begin on all the different things I've learned. I'm glad that I've made it this far, and I am looking forward to being in my own truck where I can sleep on the bottom bunk! Hehe!

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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Do I push for what I want pretty badly or do I lay low and say nothing?

Hmmmm. I wonder if the instructor from Hell is one of these types who doesn't think women folk have any business driving big rigs. Have you followed up on your complaint? There may be a pattern of negative behavior towards women that the school needs to be made aware of.

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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Got Beard?

The policy against beards is why I wrote Averitt off my list early on in the search for my first company. My beard is non-negotiable.

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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Rookie on Backing Up. HELP!!!!

It takes time to develop an instinct for where the trailer will end up if you do X with the wheel. As you progress through the maneuvers you will learn, you will eventually realize that all backing is based on the straight line back. That means you need to master it quickly or you will run into more and more trouble as you move into the lane change, parallel park, 90 degree park, and 45 degree park.

The two biggest mistakes us newbies make when backing are turning the wheel in the wrong direction and over correcting. What I had to drill into my head is that turning the wheel in any direction will make the trailer turn in the opposite direction. Once that became something I knew without having to think about it, backing got much easier. Learning to not over correct is something that happens with time. Eventually you realize that it isn't necessary to turn that wheel so much to get the desired result. Yes, there are instances when you have to turn the wheel hard and fast to the right or left, but that's usually after you've already positioned the trailer to go where it needs to go and you are focused on parking the tractor.

Like others have pointed out, make small corrections. If you see the trailer starting to drift, turn your wheel a quarter turn in the direction of the drift and hold it there until the trailer responds. The truck will move ten feet before you see that happen. Then, when the drift has been corrected, go back to a straight wheel and hold it there until you see the trailer starting to drift again.

Also, don't be afraid of how fast the truck is backing up. Remember that you are on a closed course. These trucks do not go very fast at all when they're idling and in gear. It just seems like they are because you are not used to such a large vehicle. Let the clutch all the way out and plant your feet on the floor. You will have plenty of time to push the clutch in and step on the brake, should you need to.

Lastly, relax. I know the truck seems huge to you right now, but that will subside as you spend more time behind the wheel. Work on developing your sense of depth and distance while you are backing. Experiment with the wheel (turn it this way or that way) while looking in your mirrors. You will eventually begin to develop that instinct for knowing not only what the trailer is going to do, but also for where it will end up.

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